After a recent announcement about overhauling their browser and migrating to Webkit from their homemade Presto engine, Opera has been hard at work at redefining the browsing experience from the ground up. Since the release of beta and the move to Webkit, Opera's team has directed their focus toward what they believe to be more valuable feature innovations for Opera while keeping up with rival browsers.
But a redesigned interface is just the beginning. Opera for Android also retains popular features like Speed Dial and improved compatibility, thanks to Chromium. The new "Discover" and "Off-road mode" have also become permanent additions to the Opera family, taking center stage with this version release.
Discover is a native feature within Opera that surfaces articles and content from the Web, based on the user's interests. While the idea of newsreaders and content aggregators isn't anything new, having it built into the browser does save you the trouble of running separate apps just for content discovery and surfing the Web. Having the feature included is a UX bonus and is also in line with Opera's move toward branding their environment as the place for discovery and diversity.
Off-road mode was designed to reduce data consumption and improve browser performance in areas with congested or spotty reception. By reducing the amount of data, Opera for Android is able to pull only the most important content from sites, even in areas with bad connections or roaming service.
Based on our initial impressions, Opera browser not only feels snappier, but also retains that native experience while maintaining a distinctly "Opera" appearance. Stay tuned for a full review coming soon; but in the meantime feel free to grab it and try for yourself.